Turn down the volume please! There is nothing more controversial than music in the workplace. Some people have to work in silence, while others say they are much more effective if they can listen to their favourite record. But what does research say? Kinnarps has had a closer look at an exciting study carried out by the National Center for Biotechnology in the US.
Music has a profound effect on us. It can change our behaviour and how we perform, and can even have a healing effect on us when we are ill. But it can also be a source of irritation and complaints, at least if the wrong song is played in the workplace when you are right in the middle of an important task. This can throw people's focus right off. And the results of the study were unanimous when looking at this issue. Personal taste and the music people like define whether or not it is disturbing or boosts concentration. The latest monster hit by Avici works just as well or as badly as an opera by Verdi, all depending on who is listening. It is therefore important that companies have a music policy that all staff members can agree on. If such a policy is in place, it is a major benefit to have some background music at work, not only because music in moderate doses can boost our levels of concentration, but also because it drowns out other distracting sounds like conversations and ringtones. One surprising aspect of the study is how instrumental music is preferred more than song music. There are major differences here as to how levels of concentration are affected. And if you are alone in your taste in music – then get a pair of headphones!